There were some interesting trends that became apparent at VoiceCon San Francisco last week - the two most intriguing trends being about collaboration and social networking. Much of the usual discussion about unified communications became a discussion about UCC – unified communications and collaboration. As UC evolves, it’s becoming more about collaboration, with the real value being about finding the right people, resources, and information we need, when we need it. This will be done both manually and automatically. A business process may kick off a collaboration session, identifying who needs to be included based on their role in the process and the organization, and initiating the collaborative session with the right tools based on the users’ status, device of choice, and function.
The second trend is about social networking or social software. There was plenty of discussion about the role of social software in the enterprise, and the benefits of integrating these capabilities with UC. As I spend my second week in a row in San Francisco, I expect to hear a lot more about both these topics at the Cisco Collaboration Summit. I’m especially looking forward to hearing more about what Cisco calls "Customer Collaboration". As one of Cisco’s industry analyst bloggers on the Cisco Collaboration Community, I recently wrote an article about Social Media, Collaboration and Customer Service, noting how the role of social media/software is changing customer service. Cisco’s Tod Famous commented on the blog that, “Social Media is having a big impact on customer care. We're looking forward to helping our customers bring their customer care operational excellence to this new domain of proactive customer care.” And John Hernandez commented, “The market is evolving from contact centers to customer collaboration,” adding, “we’re actively innovating in this area and look forward to sharing more about our plans at our collaboration launch.”
So I’m very excited to hear about what Cisco will be doing to help evolve the market by integrating and unifying communications, collaboration, and social software.